September 11, 2020, Marshfield, Massachusetts
Rather than harp on how much more I could be accomplishing if I had just one person in my life, a parent, sibling, friend or significant other, I've concluded that the wisest view of my situation is one of a long, lonely and arduous journey. Accept it and get used to it. My pace and progress will be whatever it will be. I need to stop judging myself about this just because I know how productive I am capable of being under different circumstances. I'm not under those circumstances. I'm under these. If I can just accomplish what I need to before my resources run out, I will have changed my circumstances. How many people can say that?
March 27, 2020, Marshfield, Massachusetts
I've been deliberating for weeks, but I guess I know that I should do this because I'm scared to which is a pretty good way to make a decision. Facing our fears is one of the healthiest choices a person can make. It liberates us. Why? Because there are two types of fear and we should only be afraid of one kind. There is the type that shoots through your body if you're walking down a wooded trail and come across a grizzly bear. This is a natural fear and it is a pure, healthy and useful response to the situation. This is part of Mother Nature's design. We're supposed to be afraid of wild things that can eat us.
The other type of fear exists only in our minds. This type of fear is a product uncontrolled thought. The Mayo Clinic describes fear as "an unpleasant feeling triggered by the perception of danger, real or imagined." Real or imagined. The grizzly bear vs. your thoughts. Which is more of an enemy?
I remember one year working at a private zoo in California. At feeding time, every part of my body would spring into fight or flight mode when I heard the tigers roar only a few feet away from me. Of course, I remained calm and professional. That's what they hired me to do, but my body was screaming "Get the hell out of there!" My mind knew there was a heavy gauged steel fence between me and these giant beautiful beasts, but my body knew that in a state of nature the only time I'd ever be this close to a super predator would be just before it was about to be eat me. As modern humans, we like to think of ourselves as separate from the animal kingdom, but the cells of our bodies hold instinctual knowledge that is not easily forgotten. Our instincts are still very much alive inside of us. Regardless if we can hear them above the endless chatter of our minds, they are still there sending us messages. The predators taking advantage of this opportunity are no longer lions, tigers and bears.
March 29, 2020, Marshfield, Massachusetts
Wow, this morning was ruuuuhf. Damn, that may have been the worst yet. It's a shame, too, because I originally woke up in a mediocre mood, which is good for me these days, but I looked at the clock and it was still early so seeing as I was up late writing I decided to try and grab another hour of sleep if I could which I was able to do. But holy moly, that was fucking painful. It's good that I got some more rest, but that extra hour and a half was hell. I was ready to do the deal when I finally woke up. Not good.
I just realized something. For the past ten years or so...actually, wait, it's been longer than that. It's closer to 15. Not long after my mother passed away then a couple months later my best friend died, I woke up from a nap to a state of complete horror. I'd just gotten out of the hospital that morning after a bad accident and tried to go work. My boss after taking one look at me was like "Go home and get some rest." I was pretty banged up, stitches across my forehead, more in my ear and a broken nose. I felt awful. It turns out I had a concussion, but was so worried about getting a huge medical bill that as soon as I woke up I left the hospital. I've never had health insurance. I've been a free spirit my whole life so going home, for me, was walking across the field where we parked our trucks and cars and climbing into the back of the cargo trailer I had built into a rolling studio apartment/workshop and taking a nap. It was actually a pretty sweet set-up for a clean-cut, hard working vagabond. After sleeping for a couple hours, I woke up to find myself in a mental-emotional state that I had never experienced before. The best way I can explain it was like getting sucked into a black hole far off in outer space completely alone. It was a very lonely and scary feeling. It was summertime so it wasn't as cold as outer space, but every nap I've had since then has been like that.
That's why this morning was so awful. I'm not a doctor, but I think when we nap our minds don't completely fall asleep like in a long night's rest. We often linger in a half-asleep half-awake state, but we don't have our wits about us completely. Whatever, I've given this a lot of thought because I've had to. When you're going through life on your own, having your wits about you is the only thing keeping you from being taken advantage of or from falling through the cracks of society so when you don't have many people in your life to begin with and two of them pass away, you're on your own that much more. For whatever reason, being half asleep makes it that much more worse, like you're completely helpless until you can wake-up all the way and fend for yourself. Finding myself in a rare situation where I was vulnerable and just escaped the "care" of the corrupt medical system made me realize for the first time just how tenuous my situation was with these recent changes in the landscape of my life.
So why am I rambling on about all this? Well, for one reason, it helps me gain perspective so I can make more informed decisions in the future. But, also, because the plan is to leave, tonight, on foot. I'll walk through the night and make it out to the ocean while it's still dark so I don't have to feel the judgmental indifferent stares of this superficial area. I just want to be back out in the country among my kind of people where a person is judged by what kind of person they are, not by what kind of car they drive. I'll walk south along the beach until I reach the harbor where I used to lobster and probably grab some sleep before dawn. Maybe I'll see some old buddies in the morning and say "Good-bye." There's more working class people in that part of town so I feel more comfortable there. Then, I'll make a right turn and head west in search of my bride or my tribe. There's no way I'm waking up here like that, again, not if I can help it. For some reason, it doesn't happen when I'm outdoors. I trust Mother Nature. I don't trust the system that I'm trapped in.
I'm all packed and ready to step out, but I got a text from a buddy this evening asking me to swing by his house in the morning and grab a stack of essays to read through. He's a great guy and put together a scholarship in honor of our best friend who passed away 15 years ago and every year they pick a high school student to receive it. Of course, my buddies always wait til the last minute to drop the entries in my lap so I have to read 30+ essays in one night and pick my top three then we compare picks and make a final decision. I'm very proud and honored to be part of it. My buddy who started the whole thing is a very solid dude and he's been keeping it going all this time while working two jobs and raising a family. I've only been directly involved the past couple years since coming back east to look after my father.
It's after 8pm and raining with thunder and lightning so I guess one more night won't kill me.
--6 months later--
September 3, 2020, Marshfield, Massachusetts
I apologize in advance for the redundancy, but I am writing this morning because a certain amount of social interaction is beneficial for any human being and I haven't had access to any in a very long time so writing here is better than nothing. In my opinion, writing in general is better than relying on my phone, which I keep turned off most days, for mental stimulation in the form of texting, emailing, watching youtube videos or just randomly surfing the web. I don't believe "social media" is a healthy form of social interaction. It's more of an unhealthy social distraction in my opinion. Healthy social contact pulls us out of our heads and into the present world while technology like social media keeps us in our heads and completely removed from the present moment. Writing like I am, right now, even though it's, also, a form of technology is, at least, a little better because it requires me to self-reflect while being consciously aware of what I am doing rather than just being in a trance staring at my phone distracted.
September 4, 2020, Marshfield, Massachusetts
The closest thing I have to a real friend these days is buddy I made since moving back here who's a firefighter, married with a couple kids which means he has no time for much of anything else, but he grew up around here, too. We go jogging together once in a while. He was a few years behind me in school so we never met back then, but we only live a couple miles from one another, now, so one of us usually swings by the other's house randomly every couple weeks. The wife and kids have been up in NH vacationing with relatives this week, but he came back to re-tile the bathroom in the master bedroom for a couple days so we've been hanging out a little more than usual. He was giving me shit, yesterday, for not dating more being a single guy with a lot of freedom so I reluctantly gave in and created a profile on match, last night, but took it down this morning. I got a few likes and a couple messages, but you have to pay 40 bucks to read them or see who they're from and I couldn't bring myself to pay for it. There are other sites which are free that I could try instead, but it's not really the money thing. I'm just not a fan of the whole idea of meeting women online.
September 5, 2020, Marshfield, Massachusetts
However, the cloud of loneliness unnecessarily bears down on me while an easy remedy seems to exists so, last night, while the rest of the world, as far as I can tell, was off celebrating Labor Day weekend and I remained here alone to work on my new number one priority, a business venture, I created a profile on the trendiest dating site out there, Bumble. Within a few hours I had received a notification that there were over 50 women interested in getting to know me ranging from very young, college aged, to quite older, late 50's. Most were around my age so, now, I sit here, this afternoon, taking a break from framing out the finish molding for the round door I built wondering what I should do next about this virtual social opportunity. I haven't responded to any of the interest yet. You can pay 2 bucks to see who these ladies are which I did and after glancing over all the profiles there's a handful of them with whom I could probably develop some type of a rapport. I know what I need and it's not a girlfriend. I'd love to have one, but I've never had trouble meeting women when I have a friend or two in my life, but when I'm completely alone in the world like I have been for too long I lack the stability that comes from having people in our lives to initiate anything with a woman. This is what I need, friends and family, not a romantic relationship. The last thing I want to do is hurt anyone which is what I always end up doing when I start dating a woman, not because I treat them any less then respectful and compassionate, but rather because I'll end it in few months if not sooner and she'll feel rejected and unworthy which is an awful way to make someone feel. I guess a newer, healthier way to go about meeting a woman is to not look at in such an all or nothing way. I can take it slower and not rush into a physical and emotional relationship. I've never been one to rush into that phase, but before long we always find ourselves there. There's no way of knowing whether a relationship is going to work in the beginning and there's no harm and hanging out with a woman a little bit just to spend some time together and see if we enjoy each other's company before it goes further. Duh.
September 6, 2020, Marshfield, Massachusetts
I responded to one of the women, meaning I showed an equal interest in her. She lives nearby and she's young. Younger women seem to be more open-minded, easy going and not in a hurry to get serious so it takes the pressure off. I'm not looking for anything serious. The secret is that I'm just looking for friends and I don't mean fwb either, but why would a woman want to hang out with me if we aren't having sex? I sound like a teenage girl trying to make friends with boys the wrong way. She was the only one I picked out of the, now, 100's, mostly because she's local and because I'd prefer to not "talk" to more than one woman at a time. I'm such a hopeless romantic, more like a lost cause. I never heard from her. The woman has 24hrs to message you or the connection expires so, now, it was getting dark and I was putting my tools away so I stopped for a second and picked another woman. She was closer to my age and seemed outdoorsy and active, but lived a lot further away. A couple hours later when I got out of the shower and was contemplating doing something (it was Sunday of the Labor Day weekend so more like a Saturday) other than staying in and writing or watching a movie I still hadn't heard from her so I picked a couple more. It made me nervous.
I went from not even having my phone on most of the time to looking at it every ten minutes. This is how the unhealthy trends in our culture reel us in. When I checked, again, to learn that I hadn't gotten a message from any of them either, a new young lady had just showed interest in me a few minutes earlier so I showed interest in her. I thought maybe because people's lives are so busy and attention spans so short responding to someone who was most recently active had better chances of making a connection. It was true. She messaged me. She was a graduate student in Boston, cultured, well-traveled, intelligent, tall. No pics of her in a thong at the beach like most of the young women's profiles which was actually refreshing. She was still very attractive. We exchanged a few lighthearted messages back and forth and then crickets. Whatever. I gave it a shot.
This is when in the past I'd delete my account and go back to focusing on meeting people the old fashioned way. I'm not on any other forms of social media like fb, twitter, insta, etc. I find them part of a bigger problem that I've dedicated my life to addressing, at least in my own life. My plan has always been to kick butt in real life and everything else will take care of itself which has always worked like a charm, but it's not easy. Then, I'd probably allow myself or someone else to create accounts on these sites for me, now, that I didn't need them. The kick butt approach has been my go-to for years. It's very reliable even for a solo flier that I've been forced to be, but hard. A big part of this formula is deciding to live somewhere that reflects my interests and lifestyle, not the crowded, materialistic, unfriendly south shore. Wah. I've got work to do.
September 9, 2020, Marshfield, Massachusetts
I should have kept this "conversation" going for the past couple days because I reverted to an old familiar decision rather than taking time to reconsider it, i.e. write about it, before deciding to delete my account, but I worked, yesterday, and got out of my routine. It happens. A good dependable work ethic is so ingrained in me that it overrides everything else in my life. I probably need to tweak that a little because even though a great work ethic is a very valuable trait to have putting everything, and I mean everything, else in your life on the back burner isn't. The whole pattern stems from survival living a solitary life. If I didn't have my job, and the highest standing at my job, I didn't have anything. A job was all I had.
Anyways, I hopped on the ocean for the day, yesterday, to get some lobsters for the owner of the farm I used to work at because he was so generous in giving me a bunch of salsa and watermelon the other day when I stopped by to visit. Yesterday was a beautiful Indian summer day in the 80s and barely a ripple on the water. My buddy, the lobsterman, had his best day of the entire season because we hauled so many traps. I had offered to go for free in exchange for a few lobsters because I miss the work-out and being on the ocean, but he insisted on paying me. Got home, grabbed a shower and relaxed in my cozy round cocoon basking in the healthy kind of tired you get from a hard days work plus, of course, a sizable dose of social interaction for the day. Plus, I love my yurt.
Anyways, that evening I scrolled through all the right swipes I'd gotten on the dating app. I don't know how many there were by then, but it took over an hour and not feeling too excited about any of them I deleted my account which was dumb because by the time I was done, I'd gotten a few more, but by then my whopping $3 subscription had run out so I couldn't see who they were anymore. Instead, I had to start swiping myself to come across them which is how the app is designed in the first place. Paying to be able to see who likes you before you decide if you like them is kind of cheating. You can kinda tell who likes you without paying because the app uses a graphic to represent each person which is taken from their profile pic and then over pixelated so you can't see what they look like, but you can still see the basic shapes and colors of the image and using that it's not hard to recognize them when you come across their profile. It turns out to be like a little game, but, still, this is not how the app was intended. You're suppose to just swipe through each pic and maybe read a little of what they wrote if they wrote anything. A lot of people don't then decide if you're interested. If you both swipe right on each other, a connection is made and you take it from there or, in this case, she takes it from there. She has to contact you, first. A lot of women don't even after choosing you. It's a game of odds. There's a lot of people using the app and the women have a lot more choices than men, which is just Mother Nature at work, so even if she initially showed interest in you the odds of her coming back around to contact you after picking a hundred other guys since that moment are pretty slim.
I ended up messaging with one woman on Monday (today's Wednesday). We were blowing up each other's phone, actually. I really thought she liked me. There were plenty of "LOL's", pic sending and flirting and then she was gone. Connection suddenly deleted, mid conversation. No good-bye. No explanation. Just gone. It kind of hurt. People can be so cold-hearted. I shouldn't take it personal or let it bother me because I didn't actually know her and she didn't know me, but it still stung to have someone do that. I think maybe I wasn't coming on strong enough, never asked for her number or tried to set up a date within the first few messages. She was one of the ladies...well, I don't think I'll use the word "lady" referring to her, who liked me, first. I wasn't planning on liking her back, initially, because she wasn't smiling in most of her pics, they were all selfies with no other people in them and within only a couple of sentences on her profile she managed to say something negative. All are tells, but then she changed a lot of her pics and put up more smiling ones and I reconsidered. Beggar's can't be choosers and I was just psyched to be talking to someone. Won't do that, again.
I was down to only 3 likes left, but it was taking forever to find them and the novelty of the activity was losing it's appeal. It's probably a safe guard in the app to keep a few likes hidden so the person keeps swiping, but I just deleted my account, uninstalled the app and went to bed. Classic Chris behavior. Waking up to begin another painfully lonely day, this morning, I realized that if I hadn't deleted the app, I probably could have had messages waiting for me and found someone new to talk to because I swiped right on quite a few cuties in the process of trying to find those last three and these women I was genuinely interested in. I wasn't just liking them because they liked me, first, which is a lame thing to do. I'm such an idiot. Oh well, I'm not creating a new account and starting all over, again. The whole thing is too superficial and impersonal, not to mention distracting me from the present moment. No thanks. Well...not anytime soon, anyways. Beggars still can't be choosers. I'm still trapped here so I may suffer for weeks, or months, then give in and try, again, out of desperation.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.